Networking and establishing connections with others is an
important part of Chinese society and as such it is no surprise that social
media activity in the country is steadily increasing.
Almost half of all
internet users in China are active on social networking websites, nearly all of
which originate from the country itself.Here are some of the main Chinese social networks that you
should be watching:
Weibo meaning micro blog in Chinese, Sina Weibo has been
likened to the equivalent of Twitter although it has nearly twice as many
monthly users. Users are able to follow each other and can use the @ symbol and
hastags to communicate and take part in discussions. There is also a similar
140 character limit to posts, however this is calculated in syllables instead
of single letters due to the nature of the Chinese language.
Sina Weibo has a large celebrity focus and is used by many
Chinese celebrities to interact with their fans and drive interest.
Organisations and businesses are also able to take advantage of the site’s user
base, which consists of mostly white collar city workers, through promoted
posts that can be used as advertisements.
RenRen, with the way it looks and it’s largely student user
base, is very similar to Facebook particularly with the recent addition of a
timeline feature. It has 147 million registered users and 31 million active
users per month.
RenRen currently generates most of its revenue through
online games, however it is also beginning to branch out into social
advertising. As it expands its user base outside of the student community,
RenRen is poised to become the most popular social network for those educated
to university level in China.
Originally built on the popular QQ Instant Messaging
service, Tencent has become a social media hub offering its users a variety of
services. Not only does it provide an instant messaging service, Tencent also
has its own networking site, PengYou.
Tencent is currently the largest Chinese internet company in
operation in terms of revenue.
One of the first
social networking websites to appear in China QZone is also the largest with
over 600 million registered users. Starting life as a blogging platform, QZone
evolved to offer its users greater customisation and personalisation
Formerly known as Weixin, WeChat is a mobile voice and text
app with additional social features such as ‘friend discovery’, location based
services and photo sharing.
WeChat is particularly interesting in terms of potential
future growth as more than 69% of the Chinese population currently use mobile
devices to access the internet, a figure that is predicted to rise.
Originally two separate video sharing sites, Youku and Todou
combined to create the second largest video website in the world after Youtube.
Its users are able to view Western
television shows and films that cannot be seen on Youtube due to restrictions.
Social networking in China is continuing to gain popularity
and with giants such as Baidu, China’s most popular search engine, expanding
into video sharing it could prove to be an area of huge potential.